Folarin Balogun has been in Florida this week meeting with representatives from the USA national team.
The 21-year-old striker is giving serious consideration to switching allegiance at national level having played for England since he was 16.
He would qualify for the States having been born in New York and is also eligible to play for Nigeria through his parents.
Speaking yesterday, USA’s interim manager Anthony Hudson revealed: “We’ve had dialogue, we’ve spoken, he’s out here having a bit of a break and some training and we’ve had some discussions. Now it’s about him just enjoying the rest of his trip.”
He added: “I think it’s been good because it’s been an opportunity for us just to share about our program and who we are and what we do.
“I hope we get the chance to speak to him again. So it’s been good, to me, and then I know a few of the guys have spoken to him, as well.”
The scramble to recruit Balogun is a result of the striker’s impressive form for Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims. Since joining on loan from Arsenal in the summer, he’s scored 18 goals in all competitions and is vying for the golden boot with some of the biggest names in world football.
Balogun had been hoping his goals would earn him a call-up from Gareth Southgate for the EURO 2024 qualifiers. When that didn’t come, he released a cryptic message on Instagram – “In life, go where your [sic] appreciated” – before dropping out of the England under-21s and setting off for America.
Were Balogun to confirm a switch to the USMNT it would give him three years to bed in before the World Cup heads to North America in 2026. The prospect of being a poster boy for one of the host countries at FIFA’s showpiece tournament is no doubt attractive.
At the same time, Arsenal keeper Matt Turner, a long-standing member of the USMNT, stressed it won’t all be glitz and glamour.
“The decision has to come from the heart, because it’s not necessarily an easy task always, to come and play in these Concacaf games, and it’s a tough region at times,” he told MLS Soccer.
“So for us, we’d be really grateful to have him, but his heart needs to be in it.”
Balogun will return to Arsenal in the summer ahead of crunch talks with Mikel Arteta about the next step of his career.
Southgate is useless
His choice, though travelling over to the US all the time would put me off. He might well be in the squad for the upcoming World Cup in the US, but no guarantees he would play.
Would be great for him to play with Bukayo, ESR, Eddie, Benjamin for Arsenal and then play internationals with them too, given he will know how to play best with them.
But his choice in the end…
Don’t forget Aaron, Declan, and Jude!
Whoops, forgot Aaron.
Declan I’m unsure about due to the high price we’d have to pay for an England player. Jude similarly. Both very good players but wonder if we can get better (or at least equal) ones cheaper.
Maybe we could get better than Rice for cheaper, but it’s a dangerous game. For every Caceido, there are 10 Lokongas. Which isn’t to say he’s a bad player, but there’s always a risk with unproven players, a risk many fans ignore because of survivorship bias. Compare what Trossard has done for us to Mudryk at Chelsea for example.
Probably can’t do better than Jude. He actually seems worth the stupid fee. Whether we are willing to pay it is another question.
Rice is good but doesn’t seem worth 100m. Expect we could do the same or better elsewhere for less, if that’s what they are asking.
We will probably pick up somebody unexpected for 1/3 of the fee who will turn out to be really good.
Do we have to buy Rice to realise he has no agility. Henderson, Xhaka mould. No one needs five point turns with back to goal on the halfway line.
He might be given a chance when he’s 30+ when Lord Openmouth decides to retire internationally due to a five year goal drought.
Saka would be told to kick the ball off ser hairy of kunt and in our he’ll be dropped from the squad to prevent Ser Kunt from drying out.
Yeah it’s a shame the current England team must feel very inaccessible for young players.
He can’t force himself to be wanted.
Many travel to Brazil and Argentina in the PL.
Will wait for your posts that worry about Jesus / Martinelli / Gabriel flying to Brazil for their games…
or thomas partey traveling to ghana, or tomi traveling to japan, or maybe OP can just admit that its nationalism driving the sentiment
why would a player traveling overseas ‘put you off’ when we have over half the team leaving europe on every international break as it stands
While I’d be disappointed as an England and Nigeria fan, I think it would be a great opportunity for him. Instead of competing with Kane or Osimhen, he would only have an out of position Gio Reyna to contend with.
The USA team has a lot of potential; despite the controversy of their coach and player selections, they still had a decent World Cup and are obviously guaranteed to qualify for the next one. I think it would be a canny move.
From everything we know about this kid, he is driven to be the very best. He isn’t content to wait around for chances off the bench here or there, he wants to play and make his mark on the world. It will rub some people up the wrong way and maybe appears arrogant, but I have to say, I love it. His attitude reminds me of Zlatan and like him I think he’s going to the very top. But like Zlatan he will need to find the right place for his talents and mentality, and perhaps there are some who… Read more »
Personality wise, he’s already reminding me of Anelka.
Which is all very well, if he wants to put the ball in the back of the net for Arsenal.
Which is why he needs to have a long chat with Arteta. Tea, biscuits and non-negotiables.
with globalization, everyone’s from five different countries and at the same time from none. all these stories about players choosing what national team they wanna play for sound more like players picking which club will give them more benefits rather than truly thinking of representing a nation. at this pace national teams will mean nothing and will be made up from people from all over the world who all chose to represent the country that fitted them best. like clubs with flags, that’s it.
I’m not for one moment suggesting that this is the intention of the author of this article or anyone connected with the inception and production of this blog, but here we have another ample opportunity for the rabid Anglophobic comments (and the barely concealed prejudices manifesting in the thumbs) to run riot on this site again.
But have any of you – busily slagging off everything English – asked yourselves why indeed then that you support an English football club?
Dude – you have spent a lot of time on these Balogun posts slagging off Americans and American soccer.
People in glass houses etc etc
The posts I put up taking the Americans to task were a retaliation.
There’s been a good deal of Anglophobic content allowed to be posted on this site, way before the Balogun story.
I can take a joke the same as the next fan – but the first sign of dishing it back and I’m hauled over the coals.
Not for the first time, I might add.
There really isn’t any pattern of Anglophobic comments here.
If you see something you think fits the bill, let me know. I’ll have a look. We don’t allow any kind of discrimination here. Retaliation isn’t going to help anything if that’s what it is.
there is a distinction between a club (really, a company) based in a country and the government of the country itself.
if you supported say, newcastle united or psg then this might be a conversation worth having, but at present, its just a bunch of whataboutism to deflect from an actual conversation around a personal decision made by a player.
You’re the one bringing up England’s (It’s Britain’s actually) colonial past and current nuclear weapons state, elsewhere on this thread.
I’m an England fan and deeply frustrated with the current walled garden that is the England squad, absolutely can’t blame young players with options for thinking they’re better off elsewhere.
When Kane is finished who will we be left with up top?
Southgate’s a bellend
With his form and being 3rd in line for a start up front, I’d say it is not 100% he’ll be at Arsenal next year. Folarin has made it clear he wants starts at international level, so why would that be different for club?
There is also the possibility there will be a great offer in the summer and what if he does a Willock style loan and the goals drop off a cliff next season.
He seems extremely ambitious when you hear him talk. He knows how good he is and he wants to play now. Saliba tore up Ligue 1 and we brought him back. If we don’t with Balogun I’m sure he’ll want to leave.
That’s right. He watched Saka & Martinelli get into the tam at a young age and doesn’t want to waste time. Usually something happen that we don’t expect to make the decision.
Not really relevant to this article but surprised there’s nothing on the site or the blog about Özil retiring from football. Not the most loved player in our history but still a significant part of it…
Speaking of a player who is loved, highly recommend this short film Arsenal have made about Jesus’ recovery, genuinely well made stuff, got me pretty emotional!
Don’t be too surprised mate.
The only thing hated more than Mesut Ozil by the vast majority of this site’s global clientele is England.
I know and I get it! (especially re England but also Ozil) I’d have no issue if it were a negative mention, but he’s worth at least a mention imo
if you’re here defending a country with nuclear weaponry and a history of aggressive colonial expansion you might want to get your priorities in order. engerland can look after themselves.
The English – and the British per say – aren’t the only nations with historical blood on their hands.
I suggest you go back to school mate – and pay attention in your lessons this time.
It is NOT Anglophobia. You are being over-sensitive. And you are the one that made the assertion that the vast majority of our site’s users hate England.
That comment. is Anglophobic.
No it’s not.
I’m gonna shut off comments on this post now as it’s completely non-productive.
Yea I agree, Mesut was a genius and I too find it odd that he’s not even been mentioned on the site.
He needs a lot of counselling now, if you ask me. Nigeria is out of the question: no sane player, having those three options, would pitch his tent with the African Country and their shambolic football administration.
My gut feeling says USMNT. England would be tough for him to break into. One good season in France by a 21 year old is not enough credential to expect automatic selection to the English national team. He should have honoured the U21 call-up…or maybe his mind his made up already.
Wow. Lump us all in one pot, why don’t you?
He needs a nice cup of tea and a chat with Mikel Arteta.
That’s what he needs.
And if he does choose the US, then more fool him. There’s a very good reason that it’s taken them well over a hundred years to become a (reasonable) force in world football.
the us women’s team is one of most successful national sides in football history and has been a force for over 2 decades. its the example many other countries have used to build their women’s teams from the grassroots level (there is even an argument to be made about how much it has influenced the professional game).
might be time to look at life outside europe before crying about a decision someone else will be making about their future.
Substitute the US bit for England and you might have a point.
Dunno if folks here know the US setup well, but (as an American) the US team is really quite good and very young (25 year old avg age at World Cup), but has been missing a solid striker for 5+ years now. If Balogun joins, he would immediately be the starting striker for the US, where football is becoming more and more popular.
In particular, in attack, Balogun would be flanked by Pulisic and either Timothy Weah, Gio Reyna, or Brenden Aaronson. All young. Lots of potential.
This^^^. The US isn’t great, but they do have a decent young team, and Balogun would likely immediately be the first choice striker. In England, he’s behind Kane for a couple more years probably, then who knows. If you’re really wanting to play and show that you can be a difference-maker, seems a pretty obvious choice.
there is a strong core of young talent, but the lack of forward thinking coaching has been the problem. reliance on mid level MLS managers and has been players with name recognition isn’t going to get the side anywhere. Marsch is the natural choice, imo, to build the side and develop the players (he knows most of the midfield from previous jobs). He has shown the capacity to develop and energize younger players- and perhaps if he were given a job that had longer term goals than staying in the PL at a shit club like leeds, we might see… Read more »